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Thompson Square
Anthony Baker
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Thompson Square, ‘Just Feels Good’ – Album Review

The best songs on Thompson Square's new album 'Just Feels Good' sound like a conversation between the two married lovers. Early on, their back-and-forth is light and playful. Later ballads take a more somber tone, but all that find the 'If I Didn't Have You' singers sharing lead are highlights from the duo's sophomore project.

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Blake Shelton
Warner Music Nashville
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Blake Shelton, ‘Boys ‘Round Here’ – ToC Critic’s Pick [Listen]

There is comedy in Blake Shelton singing with Pistol Annies, as he does on his new single 'Boys 'Round Here.' One imagines a country Hugh Hefner surrounded by his beauties. In real life, the Annies likely (very likely) don't attend to his every need and agree with him at all costs, but they do on this song, and it's absolutely charming. 

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Blake-Shelton
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Album Spotlight: Blake Shelton, ‘Based on a True Story …’ – ToC Critic’s Pick

Women who already think Blake Shelton singing is the sexiest thing since Johnny Castle pulled Baby from the corner may want to take the rest of the week off. The best moments on 'Based on a True Story ...' sizzle, and not in that ironic "bow-chicka-wow-wow" sort of way that's occasionally implied with this singer's sense of humor. Songs like 'Mine Would Be You' are safe to put on any red wine and candles soundtrack. Guys, you can thank Shelton via his Twitter account, if you'd like.

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James Wesley
Rick Diamond, Getty Images
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James Wesley, ‘Thank a Farmer’ – Song Review

James Wesley has a real feel for the life and struggles of the blue-collar American. His new song 'Thank a Farmer' is similar to his previous Top 30 hit 'Real' in its honest, no-nonsense approach. The worst thing a singer can do with a song like either of these is come off as contrived. Wesley is a long way away from being accused of that. 

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Wynonna
Erika Goldring, Getty Images
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Wynonna, ‘Something You Can’t Live Without’ – Song Review

It takes a few listens to absorb the new sound Wynonna reveals on her new single 'Something You Can't Live Without.' The singer and 'Dancing With the Stars' competitor hasn't had a hit song in a decade, but comparing this to music from the 'What the World Needs Now Is Love' album would be like comparing Kelly Clarkson now to her 2003 self, but flip-flopped.

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Kacey Musgraves
Rick Diamond, Getty Images
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Kacey Musgraves, ‘Blowin’ Smoke’ – ToC Critic’s Pick [Listen]

The magic of many of the songs on Kacey Musgraves' debut album -- including her new single 'Blowin' Smoke' -- is in the little details. 'Merry Go 'Round' thrived in efficient specificity. The follow-up is equally effective in its portrayal of a life waiting tables.

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Kacey Musgraves
Facebook
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Album Spotlight: Kacey Musgraves, ‘Same Trailer Different Park’ – ToC Critic’s Pick

Kacey Musgraves' Mercury Records debut album is everything a new artist dreams her first record will be. 'Same Trailer Different Park' is well-written, edgy (yet familiar) and coated in "cool." Musgraves is an original who at age 24 is surprisingly wise and adept at using her voice to share her experiences. 

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Casey James
Rick Diamond, Getty Images
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Casey James, ‘The Good Life’ – Song Review

Casey James' third single from his self-titled debut album is a pleasing three minutes and five seconds, but the toe-tapper is easy to forget. 'The Good Life' lacks the emotional hook that the best carefree country expressions posses.

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Shooter Jennings
Sean Gardner, Getty Images
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Shooter Jennings, ‘The Other Life’ – Album Review

Fans of early albums from Shooter Jennings will appreciate the singer's return to center on 'The Other Life,' his sixth studio album, available for purchase as of March 12. Still far from mainstream, the collection of songs isn't quite as experimental as projects that followed 'Put the "O" Back in Country.'

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Pistol Annies
RCA Nashville
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Pistol Annies, ‘Hush Hush’ – Song Review

The themes found on 'Hush Hush' -- the new single from the Pistol Annies' anticipated sophomore album 'Annie Up' -- work within the portrait of the hard luck, rural America that the trio of women painted on 'Hell on Heels.' One recognizes a few characters, but one element is missing:

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Billy Currington
Kevin Kane, Getty Images
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Billy Currington, ‘Hey Girl’ – Song Review

Billy Currington is a master of melody, always finding songs you can't get out of your head (and usually don't want to). 'Hey Girl,' the lead single from an upcoming album deviates little from his brand of country meets R&B. 

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Katie Armiger
Jason Merritt, Getty Images
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Katie Armiger, ‘Playin’ With Fire’ – Song Review

Katie Armiger continues to show off her feisty side on her new single 'Playin With Fire,' a bluesy, rebellious cut from the 'Fall Into Me' album. Her message should hit the sweet spot for teens or young 20-somethings full of angst and with little patience for the sage advice of an elder. 

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